Tshepang Mailwane: Gift, how does it feel to be part of history at Bidvest Wits after reaching the CAF Confederation Cup group stages?
Gift Motupa: It feels great, man. It’s good to be part of a group of players who made history. It’s good for the club as well. It’s a great moment for us.
TM: You scored six goals to inspire your club to the group stages.
GM: I was very happy and it was special because it was the first time I scored four goals in a professional game. I was happy about that and I look forward to getting more goals for the team.
TM: Does this show that Wits take continental club competitions seriously, seeing the team and Gavin Hunt’s desire in CAF tournaments has been questioned?
GM: As a club, we take CAF tournaments seriously. It’s not easy to play on the continent… it’s not easy at all. So, this will build our mental strength and the will in us to succeed. It will test our character and it will help us even when we play our PSL games, because it’s not easy to play on the continent and come back and play in South Africa. So, we need to be mentally strong and ready. The coach told us that this kind of situation can help us to win the league because we will be mentally strong.
TM: How far do you think you can go in the competition?
GM: I think we can go as far as the last four, because I believe we have a strong team. The competition is good, everyone is working hard and we are there for each other. I think we can get to the last four and from there it’s a lottery. Anything is possible once you get there and the confidence will be on another level. We will believe that we can win it.
TM: What do you make of the group you’ve been drawn in, where you’ll have to travel to Mali, Libya and Guinea? This weekend you host Horoya.
GM: Firstly, our home games will be important. The group that we are in is not going to be easy, because these teams have more experience, especially Horoya who have been playing in CAF competitions for some years now. It’s not going to be easy, but we are ready, man. I think we are prepared for any challenge that we are going to face in the group stages. We are positive enough that we will go to the quarterfinals.
TM: What challenges do you foresee playing in the competition as well as having domestic competitions to take care of, especially competing for the league against a side like Chiefs, who will be well-rested?
GM: The challenge we will face are the away games, with the traveling and all that. Away games are never easy, so we just need to make sure we win our home games and maybe we can try win one or two of our away games and draw others, and that will maybe give us enough points to progress to the next round.
TM: Are you as a club inspired by what Mamelodi Sundowns have done in the CAF Champions League in recent years?
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We have a problem
For this reason, Clinton Larsen was shown the door as head coach, but still, under new mentor Norman Mapeza, the struggle persists, although they did win two games on the trot recently.
They have the character
Cut Lehlohonolo Seema’s skin andhe’ll probably bleed green andwhite – such has been the man’s loyalty to Bloemfontein Celtic. Born and bred in neighbouring Lesotho, the Mangaung outfit is a club that’s always had a pull factor on him. So much that it is they who pulled him from obscure Bantu United from the mountainous kingdom in 1998, and he would go on to represent the club until 2006 when the allure of Orlando Pirates, understandably, proved too great a pull factor. Yet even a five-year spell with the Soweto giants, which included a season-long loan stint at Mpumalanga Black Aces, would not prevent him being pulled back in the direction of Siwelele, albeit to begin a coaching journey in the junior ranks. The next step was to become an assistant, a job he performed with aplomb, before being called on to take the hotseat together with John Maduka after the departure of Steve Komphela at the tail end of 2018. Much against general expectation, the duo has done fairly well, if Celtic’s off-field troubles of the recent past are to be taken into consideration. Soccer Laduma’s Beaver Nazo sat down with Seema to discuss this, that, and the other.
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Before signing for Mamelodi Sundowns last season,Lyle Lakay knew that he would be used as a leftback and not in his preferred left wing position, something that he surprisingly did not have a problem with. In his first season with the club last term, he played a key role as they went onto win an unprecedented ninth Absa Premiership league title. This season has been a bit of a slow one for Lakay, who has been used mostly as a substitute, but there’s still a lot of football to be played both locally and on the continent, so he has time to fight for his place in the starting line-up. In this interview, the former Cape Town City and Bloemfontein Celtic player chats to Soccer Laduma’s Tshepang Mailwane about his time at the Tshwane giants so far, their chances of winning the CAF Champions League and why he believes they can close the gap on current Kaizer Chiefs, who have been in fine form since the start of the campaign.
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